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Delphi 

Delphi

Located in the southwest slopes of Mt Parnassus,165 km (100 mi) norhtwest from Athens, about 2 and 1/2 hours drive.
 
The cave where the divinity Gaia (Mother Earth) used to utter prophecies guarded by her son, the serpent Python, dates from the second millennium BC (Mycenaean period). It was located on the way from the Gulf of Corinth to Central and Northern Greece, in a region then called Pytho. When the god Apollo was an infant, he killed Python, at the same time abandoning Delphi to purify himself. After the purification took place, he returned to Delphi crowned and took over the Oracle, which from then on belonged to him.

Apart from the mythical implications, this act symbolised the introduction of the worship of Delphinios Apollo at Krisa (a town in Phokis, today Hrisso), by the seamen of Knossos. The god became known as Apollo Pythias and the area was called Delphi from that time on. At first the Oracle was under the strict domination of Krisa; it was liberated in 590 BC, and it is from this date that the true history and fame of Delphi essentially began. A number of Sacred Wars broke out for control of the Oracle.

The Phokians, Amphissans and even the Athenians vied to avail themselves of its great wealth, interfering with the independence of the priests and the little world that revolved about them. In 191 BC the Romans became masters of Delphi. This was a period of waves of pillaging raids but also attempts to revive the Oracle. However, nothing could halt Delphi's decline and eventually it ceased to be regarded as the navel of the world.
 
Must see: The navel of the world (a Hellenistic or Roman copy of the Sacred Stone), the Sphinx of the Naxians (550 BC), the statue of Antinoous, the statue of Agias, the group of Thyiads (three colossal female figures portrayed dancing around a flowered column from the Sanctuary of Dionysos), the metopes from the Treasuries of Sicyon and Athens, the Karyatid and Zephyr from the Treasury of Siphnos, the bronze Charioteer, the head of Dionysos.
 
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